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Mark Schwarzer is determined to achieve success with Australia at this month's Asian Cup but admitted leaving Fulham in the middle of their fight for English Premier League survival was far from ideal. Fulham are one point above the drop zone and Mark Hughes, the manager, has already resigned himself to losing his No 1 goalkeeper for the rest of the month. Should Australia reach the final of the tournament -they began with a 4-0 win over India - it would mean Schwarzer will miss four Premier League games. "It is never ideal at this time of year to be missing games, especially with Fulham in the precarious situation they are in," said Schwarzer, 38. "I want to be in two places at once."
Goran Tufegdzic, the Kuwait coach, blasted Asian Cup organisers yesterday after they handed Mesad Nada a two-match suspension following his red card against China on Saturday. The defender was sent off for kicking Yang Xu in the groin after 36 minutes in their opening Group A match, which Kuwait lost 2-0. An angry Tufegdzic said the punishment did not fit the crime. "Yesterday I saw a letter that said he had been banned for one match, now I have just been informed he has a two-match punishment, and I don't understand why," the Serbian told reporters ahead of today's match against Uzbekistan. "He made a mistake, but he does not deserve to miss two matches."
Vadim Abramov, the Uzbekistan coach, is wary of a Kuwaiti backlash today when the two teams meet in Group A. Uzbekistan won their opener 2-0 against hosts Qatar, while Kuwait lost by the same scoreline to China. "It will be a very tough game and the difficulty is that it's Kuwait's last chance to make sure they can still qualify for the next round," Abramov said. "Kuwait are the champions of this area. There's nothing more you can say. They're a strong team and they always have good players who are comfortable on the ball, like Brazilian players. But my players are capable of matching them."
Salman Sharida pleaded for patience from Bahrain's supporters after seeing his side beaten 2-1 by South Korea in their opening Group C game at the Asian Cup. Sharida only took over as manager following the surprise resignation of Josef Hickersberger last October, with the Austrian returning to the UAE for a second spell in charge of Pro League champions Al Wahda. And he reminded everyone that he had had little time to impress his ideas on the squad. "Remember, I've only spent two months with the team and two months is not enough to prepare for matches of this kind," he said. "South Korea have played in the World Cup many times. But you know that some coaches have spent many years developing their teams and we'll see what we can achieve when we have the same amount of time."
South Korea, Asia's most experienced side with seven consecutive World Cup appearances, have not won the Asian Cup since their second triumph at the continental showpiece in 1960. But the squad are focused on ending the 51-year wait in Qatar. "We feel very strongly about it," said Park Ji-sung, their captain. "Not just me but everyone on the team feels that way. If we end it here, the younger players can build on it in the future and perform on the world stage." Cho Kwang-rae, the coach, has revealed that the team were approaching the tournament with a double-pronged objective. "Korea has two big targets: win the Asian Cup and change the generation of players after the World Cup," he said.
For more go to Asian Cup 2011